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Books and Arts Exhibition vol.2: “Word-gazing and traveling with words – Landscapes with modern and classical poetry”

August 7 (Tue) to October 21 (Sun)


Event name: Books and Arts Exhibition vol.2: “Word-gazing and traveling with words – Landscapes with modern and classical poetry”
Venue: ART MUSEUM & LIBRARY, OTA, Exhibition Rooms 1, 2, 3, and Slope
Period: August 7 (Tue) to October 21 (Sun)
Open: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (last entry to exhibition rooms before 5:30 pm)
Closed: Mondays (Open on September 17 & 24 and October 8 national holidays, and closed the following Tuesdays)
Admission fees:General adult: 500 (400) yen. *Prices in brackets (400) are for groups over 20 people, ART MUSEUM & LIBRARY, OTA card holders or “Furatto Ryomo Tobu Pass” holders. Free for people over 65, high school students and below, and disability or rehabilitation certificate holders and one caregiver or attendant.
Free for accompanying family or caregivers of children under 15 on Ota Family Day (first Sunday of every month).
Organized by:Ota City, Ota City Culture and Sports Promotion Foundation
Supported by:Little More Co., Ltd., Tobu Railway, Moerenuma Park, Liquitex
Sponsored by:Ota City Board of Education, Ota Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gunma TV, FM Gunma, FM Taro, NHK Maebashi, Jomo News, Asahi News Maebashi, Sankei News Maebashi, Tokyo News Maebashi, Mainichi News Maebashi, Yomiuri News Maebashi, Hikari Net Co., Ltd.

Exhibition brochure


“Word-gazing and traveling with words – Landscapes with modern and classical poetry” is the second Books and Arts Exhibition aimed at bridging the literature and art and held by Ota City Art Museum and Library, a museum and library complex.
The theme of this second event is modern and classical poetry (Tanka). Just as a painter uses paint as a material so does a poet use words to open up new horizons of expression and ideas. The original works of modern and classical poets and those of graphic designers, painters, and illustrators are exhibited side by side in our exhibition space.
One of these artists is the spirited poet Tahi Saihate. Her delicate and vivid words are not limited to books such as the “Shinde shimau kei no bokura ni (For us, the mortal bunch)” poem collection, novels, and essays, but also extend to web animations, games, and applications. Three graphic designers: Shun Sasaki and Shin Sobue, who have designed some of Saihate’s book, and Kazunari Hattori, art director for the “Midnight” magazine, each contribute their unique interpretation and perspective to create the graphic design for these works in the [1. Poetry × Graphics] section.
Another featured poet is Keijiro Suga who is known for consistently crossing domains such as contemporary literature, thought and art exploring themes such as the transformation of consciousness by topography, weather, and travel. Working in collaboration with Suga is artist Ai Sasaki who creates paintings and installations based on memory- including myths and stories- and landscapes. The project entitled “WALKING” undertaken by Suga and Sasaki since 2009 is a collaboration of poetry and paintings born from the two artists’ walks all around the country. The exhibition features some of their work so far, along with new work created after strolling around Ota in the [2. Poetry × Paintings] section.
The main reason why we have chosen to feature the expressive power of words is that artists such as modern poetry and Tanka writers were born in Ota from before the WWII to after the end of the war. Works by Miyoshi Otsuki and Matsue, Tanka poets who later became lifelong companions, are illustrated by Saki Soda, known for her impressive works that depict young girls and landscapes with simple lines and colors. Soda’s mural paintings featuring Ota landscapes created specifically for this event are also exhibited in the [3. Tanka × Illustrations] section.
When modern and classical poems leave their traditional book realms to move into new spaces, what kind of new form is revealed to our eyes? And what changes will this bring to the act of reading poetry? At this exhibition, viewers are invited to observe words in the space of a museum, walk along with those words, and enjoy them through various visual expressions to acquire a new appreciation for modern and classical poetry.

Featured artists

Tahi Saihate, Shun Sasaki, Shin Sobue, Kazunari Hattori, Keijiro Suga, Ai Sasaki, Miyoshi Otsuki and Matsue Otsuki, Saki Soda

Space creation

Hideki Toyoshima

Visual design

Atsushi Hirano


Exhibit composition

1. Poetry × Graphics (Exhibition Room 1)
Tahi Saihate, Shun Sasaki, Shin Sobue, Kazunari Hattori

Works (may differ from exhibited works)

Tahi Saihate
“Shinde shimau kei no bokura ni (For us, the mortal bunch)”, published by Little More, September 2014
Book design: Shun Sasaki

Shun Sasaki, “Kyushite henji, henjite tsuzu” 2017, Photo by Sho Kobayashi

Shin Sobue, “Room Books- Botchan”, ©SHIN SOBUE / Dogo Onsenart 2018

Kazunari Hattori, “CAKE”, 2007 

2. Poetry × Paintings (Slope, Exhibition Room 2)
Featuring: Keijiro Suga, Ai Sasaki

Works to be exhibited

Keijiro Suga “Untitled- Walking selection”, 2011

Ai Sasaki “Images for poems- Walking selection”, 2011 

3. Tanka × Illustrations (Exhibition Room 3)
Featuring: Miyoshi Otsuki and Matsue Otsuki, Saki Soda

Works (may differ from exhibited works)

Saki Soda “SEASONS – SUMMER”, 2016


Artist Profiles

Tahi Saihate
Started to write poetry on the internet from 2004 and to post in the New Faces section of the “Contemporary Poetry Handbook” the following year. In 2006, received the Contemporary Poetry Handbook Award. In 2007, published the “Good Morning” poetry collection and received the Chuya Nakahara Award. In 2012, published the “The sky will split” collected poems.
In 2014, after the publication of the “Shinde shimau kei no bokura ni (For us, the mortal bunch)” collection of poems, she dominated the new poetry movement and received the Contemporary Poetry Tsubaki Award. Her 2016 poem collection “The night sky is always the deepest blue” was made into a movie with the same title in 2017 (Directed by Yuya Ishii) and received considerable acclaim.
She also writes novels like “The season when we turn into stars or beasts”, “The girl called ABCDEFGHIJKLMN”, “Everyone who empathizes with teens is a liar” and more. Some of his dialogue and essay collections are: “Word dinosaurs”, “Your excuses are masterpieces” and “Mogu ∞”. Her latest works include a poetry collection in 2017, “Ai no nuime wa koko (These are the seams of love)”, and a translation of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu co-authored with Asami Kiyokawa and titled “Ogura Hyakunin Isshu a thousand years later”. Also in 2017, she wrote a poem for Lumine’s Christmas Campaign.

Shun Sasaki
Born in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture in 1985, currently lives in Tokyo. In 2010, graduated from Tama Art University’s Graphic Design Department. After working at Adbrain and GRITS DESIGN, in 2016, founded AYOND Design Office. Handled the design of three of Tahi Saihate’s poem collections including “Shinde shimau kei no bokura ni (For us, the mortal bunch)”.
Shin Sobue
Born in Aichi Prefecture in 1959. After dropping out of Tama Art University’s Graphic Design Department, worked as a graphic designer and art director. Currently runs Cozfish. His outstanding power to fascinate is obvious in all printed matter that he designs, covering a wide range of genres such as novels, manga, picture books, and photo collections, and placing him at the forefront of book design in Japan. Published “Shin Sobue + cozfish” (PIE BOOKS), a collection of his book design work.
Kazunari Hattori
Born in Tokyo in 1964. In 1988, graduated from the Department of Design at Tokyo University of the Arts, and started working at Light Publicity. Since 2001, he has been working as a freelance graphic designer and art director. His many works include advertisements such as “Kewpie Half”, magazines “Trendy Communication” “here and there” and “Midnight”, the event venue design for “petit h Objects” Hermes, logotypes for “Mitsubishi Ichigokan Art Museum” and more, rebranding of POLA’s new VI System and “45R”, package design for “CAFE @ HOME UCC”, poster/ flyer and pictorial records for exhibitions including the “The Voice Between: The Art and Poetry of Yoshimasu Gozo” at the Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art, the artwork for the rock band “Kururi”, and book design for “Petit Royal French-Japanese Dictionary”, Takuma Nakahira’s photo collection “For the Coming Words”, Takashi Honma’s “Fun Pictures”, Osamu Harada’s “My Art Notes”, etc. Received the Daily Design Award, Yusaku Kamekura Award, Tokyo ADC Award, Hiromu Hara Award, Tokyo TDC Grand Prix and other.
Keijiro Suga
Born in 1958. Poet, professor of science and engineering at Meiji University (Critical theory). After his debut work “Columbus’ Dog” (1989), he wrote critical reviews of contemporary literature, thought and art, along with numerous travel stories centering on the theme of the transformation of consciousness by topography, weather, and travel.
Received the Yomiuri Literature Award for “Shasen no tabi (Oblique Journey)” (2009). After his first poetry collection titled “Agend’Ars” in 2010, he published another five poem anthologies until 2017’s “Numbers and the Evening”. Was invited to many recitation sessions at poetry festivals and universities around the world. Translated many works from French, Spanish, and English such as Glissant’s <Poetics of Relation>, Saint-Exupéry’s <The Little Prince>, Allende’ s <Paula>, Bender’s <An Invisible Sign of My Own> and more.
Ai Sasaki
Born in Osaka Prefecture in 1976. In 1999, went on a short-term exchange study program at Valand Art Academy (Sweden). In 2001, graduated from Kanazawa College of Art and Design’s Department of Design, after having majored in Visual Design.
In 2002, entered Saito IMI Graduate School and completed a major in contemporary art. Creates paintings and installations based on memory- including myths and stories- and landscapes and exhibits at museums, galleries, and residences in Japan and abroad. Her major solo exhibitions in recent years include: “Between landscapes and stories” (Kurobe City Museum of Art, 2017), “Another Place” (NPO E&C Gallery, 2015), “Four Songs” (Bernard Buffet Museum, 2014). Her main group exhibitions include: “The 15th Anniversary Exhibition ‘Tree of Life’ (Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum, 2017), “The Rainbow Caravan Sarai- Journey of the Creator”(Aichi Triennale 2016), “Cafe in Mito” (Mito Museum Contemporary Art Gallery, 2015)”, “The Story Starting in the Forest “(Kanazu Forest of Creation Foundation, 2015).
Photo:Takehiro GOTO
Saki Soda
Born in 1986 in Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture where she currently lives. Graphic designer & illustrator. Graduated from Kuwasawa Design School in 2008. After doing book design at a design company, started working freelance from 2010. Created numerous indie music-related designs and bindings for artists like cero, The Natsuyasumi Band, Utsukushiki Hikari, Emerson Kitamura, Kenta Maeno, etc.
 She works both domestically and overseas as a magazine and book illustrator, wrapping paper and fashion brand textile designer. In 2015, exhibited at the Korean independent publisher SSE PROJECT’s WEB gallery and issued ZINE “Transparent Melancholy”. In the same year, issued a book titled “Waving Lines”, a collection of 303 drawings with the same publisher. Held a solo exhibition in Korea to commemorate the publishing of her book and the 7th anniversary of the company. In 2016, held the solo exhibition “One day someday” at venues including the one in Ashikaga City. In 2017, represented Japan at the “ONE PAGE” exhibition organized by SSE PROJECT.
Miyoshi Otsuki, Matsue Otsuki
Miyoshi and Matsue Otsuki are a couple from Ota City who made Tanka their lifetime work. Miyoshi Otsuki was born in Uchigashima, Ota City in 1903. He contributed Tanka to magazines and newspapers while studying at the Normal School, then, after graduation, continued to publish his work while working as an elementary school teacher. “Chalk Powder” (1929), “Flowers and Horses” (1934), and “Vertical Curve” (1979) are some of his Tanka collections. Died in 1987. Matsue Otsuki was born in 1901. After graduating from a girls’ school, she worked at Torinogo elementary school in Ota City but passed away in 1926. “Red Camellias” (1930) is a Tanka collection (masterpieces) selected by her husband Miyoshi Otsuki from among the 2,500 poems in the 12 notebooks that she left.

Space Creation

Hideki Toyoshima 
Born in Osaka Prefecture in 1971. In 1993, graduated from San Francisco Art Institute. Since 1998, became a “graf” member and has been designing and creating for all aspects of life. In 2001, completed studies at the Chelsea College of Art and Design. Since 2009, has worked as a member of “gm projects”. He is known for his diverse and flexible expressive means, including artwork creation, space composition, workshops, projects, etc.

Visual Design

Atsushi Hirano 
Born in Kanagawa in 1978. In 2003, graduated from Tama Art University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, the Department of Graphic Design. Worked at MAQ Inc. and Draft Co., Ltd. and later established Design Studio AFFORDANCE. Mainly does graphic design such as corporate branding, CI, VI, product design, editorial design, and logo design. For the Ota City Museum of Art & Library opening (design: Akihisa Hirata, 2017), was in charge of the logo mark and signage planning. Part-time lecturer at Tama Art University. Received the TDC Award, JAGDA Rookie Award, SDA Award, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Award and more.